So I've been playing a lot of Fire Emblem: Awakening on my 3DS. I am really, really enjoying the game, and grabbing every spare minute to play it (aside from beating BioShock Infinite so I could script a Gun Show and be on the spoilercast before the internet could spoil it for me). I'm playing on Classic Normal mode, which means when my squad members die in combat, they stay dead. Because the characters are nicely fleshed out with distinct personalities, attributes, and relationships with others, I find myself getting attached to them, even the ones I'm not particularly keen on. When they die, I feel the sting of loss, and this sting stays with me for a while (despite the few things the game does to muddle up the mourning process, which I'll get into in a later post). So I decided to give write up blog eulogies for each member of my team that perishes under my command.
My first casualty was Sumia.
In the ranks of the Shepherds, Sumia did not tower above others. A diligent soldier, she worked at her craft with earnestness and dedication, and though she was not the most skilled or daring of the bunch, she pursued doggedly, ever striving to be worthy of her post. On that lovely spring day when we came upon a pegasus in the field, she alone approached the proud beast while others were filled with trepidation. Whether it was her humility, her gentleness, or some other, deeper virtue that soothed the beast, all we knew was that the next time we saw her, she was resplendent on the back of her new friend, her new ally.
Watching the two of them in battle was a delight. Soaring and diving, swooping and feinting, the two moved as if they had been companions from the cradle. I remember with startling clarity the moments of stillness when, perched like a peregrine above their prey, motionless at the fulcrum between shining ascent and dire descent, Sumia and her steed made time itself stop and stare. For a fleeting instant, they blazed incandescently, the winged paragon of freedom, comradeship, and love. In those moments, I thought to myself, "There! There is an angel for us Shepherds!"
She was the first to fall. The first of us to fall upon the battlefield. The brave foray that saved her fellow Shepherd from certain death brought her within range of a fell archer. The arrow that pierced those hearts pierced us all, and we have never been the same since. To this day, as I marshall my troops for yet another skirmish in the struggle to preserve our precious Ylisse, I command with extra caution my winged brethren. The sight of those wings folded in a final plummet is never far from my mind, and it is with bitter regret that I tell you now it was not the last time I saw such a sight.
Oh Sumia, your life was short and hard, but you were unafraid. We fight here in your name. You will not die in vain. You will not be betrayed.